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Hunger still exists in Liberty

POSTED: February 22, 2007 5:07 a.m.
According to statistics, hunger is still a problem for 15 percent of Liberty County's population and America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia launched its mobile food pantry program in Hinesville Saturday to help.
Although below the state average of 13 percent, Liberty County Manna House Director the Rev. Katrina Deason said hunger exists here.
“We knew there was a great need because of the number of children sign up in our Kids Café Program,” she said.
Second Harvest workers delivered food to the Raintree Housing Development and were met by volunteers waiting to help. Workers reported they were not able to serve 250 families as they planned, but did give food and drinks to 125 families.
“This is a test run today and it’s the start of a new program for us,” said Second Harvest Director of Operations Eric Thompson. “All over the state there are mobile food pantries and we wanted to do the same thing to help,” he said.
The mobile food program will focus on helping more than 130,000 needy people in 21 rural counties, said Second Harvest Executive Director Mary Jane Crouch.
“We wanted to start here because we have a lot of support from the Manna House,” she said.
The Liberty County Manna House is a member agency of Second Harvest and Deason was instrumental in launching the first mobile pantry food drop, Crouch said.
Manna House serves more than 400 individuals a month at its food pantry. Although Raintree was the site for the mobile pantry and is the heaviest service area for the Manna House, people came from all around Saturday.
Many rural counties don’t have The Salvation Army and other big organizations that people can go to when they need help, Crouch said. “So we find in a lot of those areas they're very hesitant to ask for help. We’re hoping this will not only get them help but highlight to the community why they need help.”
Many Americans have trouble meeting their basic food needs, Crouch said.
More than 21 million Americans get an average of $83 a month in food stamps and 40 percent of Americans who receive food stamps have at least one adult in the family who works a minimum of 40 hours.
“You can’t eat for a month on $83,” she said, “especially if you have children.”
Crouch noted the goal is to conduct two food distributions per county this year.
“We are happy to be able to do this and right now we have the funding to do it,” she said. Funding from the Hancock Family Foundation supports the mobile pantry program.
Deason said the next stop for the mobile pantry would be Long County later this month.
 

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